Player Two of our closer look at Hartlepool United…
Willie joined the Club in August 2006 and became new boss Danny Wilson`s first signing. His tough-tackling style is something that Wilson had been looking to add to the squad and he agreed terms at The Vic after being out of contract at Cardiff in the summer. His leadership skills and experience were another part of the reason that Pools were quick to move for him when he became available. Having started his career with Coventry City, he moved to Ninian Park in 1999 where he made over 200 appearances.
Ali joined the Club on transfer deadline day in August 2006. The winger had been a long-standing target for Danny Wilson and he was delighted to finally get his man after a contract wrangle with former Club Bristol Rovers held up the transfer. Gibb likes to get down the right flank and deliver crosses in to the penalty area with boss Wilson obviously confident he can supply the ammunition for the Club`s strikers. The talented wide man began his career at Norwich City before moving on to Northampton. He then played over 150 games for Stockport County before joining Rovers in March 2004.
Eifion joined Pools from Torquay United in March 2001 and immediately got in amongst the goals. The Welshman was the Club`s top scorer in his first two full seasons at The Vic and joint top scorer with Michael Proctor last term. Eifion`s versatility saw him play wide right for spells last term and he impressed with his determined approach and positive attitude. After missing out on his international call-up due to injury, the striker will be hoping to impress once again in League Two and earn another call-up this season. Eifion has proved himself as a regular goalscorer for Pools and much will be expected of him this term.
Joel was another of the Pools` strikers to miss out on the majority of the last campaign. The striker suffered an injury to his knee and required three different operations before the problem was solved. Despite not kicking a ball until March, the Aussie marked his return to the side with a great goal against Huddersfield Town and he bagged three in total in his appearances in Pools` last eight games of the season. 2004/2005 was the season that Joel firmly announced his arrival in English football. Having joined the Club late in 2003, the Aussie striker failed to settle quickly by his own admission but, after a rigorous pre-season, he showed the fans his true colours in the 2004/05 season. Joel`s direct approach and positive play has made him a big hit with everyone at Pools and the striker will be looking to bang the goals in this season.
After playing a big part for Pools in the earlier parts of last season, Jon played the last three months of the campaign on loan at League Two outfit Bury, where he grabbed two goals. Jon`s fantastic headed goal at the Millennium Stadium in May 2005 pushed Pools to within eight minutes of Championship football. Signed from Stockport County in February 2005, the tall front man proved a threat with his aerial prowess and his strong holding skills last term. With his return to Pools for the new season, he will be looking to make his mark on League Two and grab his fair share of goals.
Michael joined Pools at the beginning of last season and, despite being in and out of the side throughout the campaign, he finished as joint top scorer with seven goals. Before joining Pools, he played his football with Rotherham United but was made surplus to requirements when The Millers were relegated. The busy striker covers a lot of ground in every game and shows great enthusiasm whether playing up front or wide left. He will be looking to earn a more settled role in the team this season and help Pools in their League Two campaign.
James really is one to watch and is rated very highly by everyone at Pools. The young striker missed out on the majority of last season after suffering ligament damage in a pre-season friendly game but he finished the campaign strongly. James hit five for the Youth Team in his first two games back and was then included in the First Team for the remaining four games of the season. The young striker bagged a bittersweet debut goal for Pools in the final game of last season against Port Vale and he will be looking to build on this in the new campaign. James is ruthless in and around the box and it was this lethal finishing that earned him his first professional contract with the Club in the summer.
David became the youngest player ever to play for the Club when he came on as a substitute against Port Vale aged just 16 years and 105 days. The striker is a promising discovery for Pools and his skill and finishing ability mean that he is one that the fans are keen to see come through. David is another of the youngsters to get his chance with the First Team last season, making twelve appearances in total and he also impressed at Reserve Team level. The youngster was rewarded for his impressive displays with a professional contract with Pools and he will be looking to impact on the First Team again this season.
Local boy Michael Rae has shown a ruthless streak in front of goal during his time in the Youth Team and Reserves at Pools. A whole-hearted young striker, he has shown a real eye for goal and a determination to carve out a successful career in football. His predatory instincts won him his first professional contract during the summer and he will be crossing his fingers that he can force his way in to First Team contention during Pools` League Two campaign.
Hartlepool United : Part 2
Player Two of our closer look at Hartlepool United…